ELIZABETH DISHIAN — Staff Reporter
Motivating her residents to conserve energy is a big initiative for Jenna Retort, hall director of North Campus and member of the energy conservation committee at Southern, this semester.
Once Retort had a better understanding of her eco-footprint, she was able to make a conscious effort to help limit her impact on the world.
“I find that trying to lead a sustainable life is definitely a work in progress as new issues and sustainable practices emerge and evolve,” said Retort.
Sustainability is about anyone learning concepts to have better living habits and control wasting energy and waste consumption so that future generations can have an enhanced quality of life, said Retort.
“Sustainability is important because this is our economy,” said Erica Martino, sophomore special education and mathematics major. “Students need to care because this is going to impact not only us in the future but our kids as well.”
Southern decided in 2007 that it would become a part of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. The university will reduce its carbon footprint to zero by 2050, according to Southern’s website.
Some students do not know how to save energy; this is where part of the problem of being a more sustainable campus shows.
“Nobody really knows what things to do to help save energy,” said Tyler McNamara, a commuter and member of the men’s lacrosse team.
Martino said students will not have an immediate response because they do not know the importance of sustaining energy. Students that want to make a difference will. Others probably will not respond to the directions right away if at all.
“Sure you see in dorms that there are signs saying turn off the lights and stuff, but nobody really pays attention to it unless they are addressed about it,” said McNamara. “Somebody needs to take charge and take the time to talk to people about it.”
North Campus is hosting a “Get Caught Being Green-handed” program where residents will be rewarded for the efforts of energy conservation with free T-shirts and reusable bags, said Josh Sumrell, senior community advisor at North Campus.
“I think rewarding good energy conservation is always good and our program is a great way to do this,” said Sumrell.
Will Eschner, junior sociology major, said that he will recycle and be more energy conscious if he gets a free T-shirt in return.
There are plenty of small things residents can do to make a big difference, said Retort.
The lights, water and heat can all be turned off when residents are not using them to save energy.
“I turn the water off when brushing my teeth,” said McNamara. “I also turn my lights off when they aren’t needed.”
As well as turning utilities and water off when a resident is not using them, people can also use reusable bags, and people can use them other places than just at the store, said Retort.
“In the apartment-style halls like North Campus, there is a heating and air conditioner unit in each apartment,” said Retort. “Adjusting the temperature setting by one degree can save up to 2 percent of the cost of operating the unit.”
Martino said the earth is where people live and if people do not start to make these small changes in their lives, then eventually they will not be able to live here.
“Sustainability is important in general because it brings longevity to the life of our environment,” said Shealah Day, graduate intern for Neff Hall.
SCSU teaches students about sustainability for the future
ELIZABETH DISHIAN — Staff Reporter